A pair of American tourists have been banned from Rome’s storied Spanish Steps after damaging them with reckless behavior. A video recording shows the unidentified couple walking their electric scooters down the steps, which is not permitted. At one point, the female tourist gives up on trying to maneuver the vehicle and simply hurls the scooter the rest of the way down.
CNN reports that the pair did not stop there. According to a statement issued by Roman authorities, they picked up the scooter and brought it back up the steps to throw it down again. They chucked the scooter down the steps three times in total, damaging the steps with scrape marks and chipping off a 4-inch chunk of marble from the 18th-century staircase.
Fined and banned
Authorities caught up with the unidentified couple and issued them each fines of €400. The female vandal was charged with a complaint for damage to a monument property. Additionally the pair were banned from the 18th-century Spanish Steps, although reports conflict on the ban’s duration. The Independent reported the ban was life-long, while People put it at a six-month ban, and CNN noted that the ban would only last several days.
The incident has caused damages estimated at €25,000 (around $26,000). Authorities have not indicated how quickly the site will be repaired, but considering the popularity of the monument and the revitalization of Rome’s tourism industry, it will likely be a swift procedure. The Spanish Steps, a UNESCO World Heritage site, completed a €1.5 million restoration in 2015.
This is the second time this year that the Spanish Steps have been involved in vehicular vandalism. In May, authorities arrested a 37-year-old Saudi man for driving a rented Maserati down the steps. This instance caused fractures in two of the steps, as well as more widespread aesthetic damage.